What’s so great about Manaia, what to do and best things to see
The bread capital and home to country music
Manaia is home to one of New Zealand’s largest bread factories where the town motto is, ‘Bread Capital.’ Mana is on the Surf Highway route making for an easy stop to hear the beat at the Country Music Museum, take a selfie with an enormous bread sculpture and read the story of George, a heroic Jack Russell dog.
WHAT TO DO, HIGHLIGHTS
European historical landmarks include:
- In the town’s centre, an 1890 marble obelisk to European settlers who were casualties of the 1868–69 Taranaki wars
- Another town obelisk and a band rotunda are First World War memorials.
- The Manaia redoubt is the site of two 1880s blockhouses, and a 1912 replica of the original lookout tower is now part of the golf course
Maori historical landmarks include:
- Nearby Opunki, Hawera and other settlements in the area offer visitors a rich cultural understanding of the Maori settlement. Check out Maori archeological sites and places of interest.
- Nearby Pīhama, approximately 19km from Manaia was the site of the ‘provision house’ (elevated storehouse) at nearby Ōtūmātua pā painted by Charles Heaphy in 1840, while he and a party of surveyors were on their way to lay out the site of New Plymouth. Pīhama is named after Hone Pīhama, a local chief who provided protection for Pākehā surveyors. The painting is considered a classic nineteenth century art interpretation depicting a Maori settlement.
- Manaia’s history is still visible in the Manaia Redoubt. Built around 1880 on the site of a former pā (Te Takahe) during peacetime, this redoubt and wooden watchtower was created for the passive resistance of the Parihaka chief, Te Whiti o Rongomai, and his followers
Other interesting places include:
- Hollard Gardens are intriguing. The life work of dairy farmers who transformed a bare paddock into one of Taranaki’s gardens of significance.
- Taranaki Country Music Hall of Fame is a must visit location for country music buffs. There are live gigs on Thursday nights. The museum opening hours will need to check beforehand to avoid disappointment
- Egmout National Park is approximately half an hour’s drive from Manaia
- The iron barque Lizzie Bell in 1901 ran aground near the mouth of Oeo Stream. Twelve seamen died of exposure before help arrived. They are buried in the Pihama cemetery
- A bread factory, Yarrows
- In 2007, George,a 9-year-old Jack Russell terrier died protecting 5 local children from a pit bull dog attack. George was awarded a posthumous PDSA Gold Medal, the animal equivalent of the George Cross. His statute is opposite the main roundabout.
WHERE TO TAKE THE BEST SELFIE
- Manaia bread sculpture
- Jack Russell hero statute
- The biggest bakery in New Zealand located in unassuming Manaia
- The bread capital
- Country music, where else but the Taranaki Country Music Hall of Fame
- Visit Yarrows Bakery factory shop for the freshest pastry goods
- Read the story about a heroic dog called George
WHO TURNED UP AND SETTLED IN MANAIA
Mouth of Kapuni River had significant pa (village) settlements, approximately 4km from the current town. The area is a microcosism of Taranaki history from shipwrecks, cannibalism, tribal warfare, Kingitanga Movement, enduring belief in Maori land / culture rights, war, land confiscations and reparition for unjustable land seizures. History is layered on the landscape, even the current Manaia golf course has heritage sites worth a look. From British colonial military installations to heritage pa sites, all while you play golf.The golf course is one of the oldest in Taranaki, established around 1905.
Meaning of place name
Manaia was named after Hukunui Manaia, a paramount Māori chief of the district.
WHAT MAKES THE PLACE TICK
- The town is very much a service town for the rich dairy farms nearby as well as the enormous commercial bakery. In the 1940s and 1950s the number of dairy factories per kilometre of road was the highest in New Zealand. To help transport milk to the factories, the Waimate West County began a major road-sealing project in 1916 and a few years later had some of the country’s best rural roads.
BEST TIME TO GO
- Year round
- 1,551 Manaia-Kapuni (APPROX 930 IN MANAIA)
- Enormous dairy tankers on narrow country roads.
- 30 minutes to an hour photographing the town’s statutes and bread sculpture then its on route, Surf Highway 47… yet country music fans might have to stay overnight to soak up the atmosphere of the local gigs at the museum.
TRAVEL PACK INFORMATION
“Manaia has three marae affiliated with the local Ngāruahine hapū of Ngāti Haua: Tawhitinui Marae and Okare Tuatoru meeting house, Waiokura Marae and Paraukau Tukau meeting house, and Okare ki Uta|Okare ki Uta Marae.” Wikipedia
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